The coalition’s decision to extend small business rate relief to April 2014 has been welcomed by the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, who said it was a positive response to its ongoing campaign on the issue.

The 12-month extension was announced in the Chancellor’s mid-term review yesterday (Monday 7 January). It will mean an estimated half a million small business owners will continue to receive tax relief of 100%, with up to 350,000 paying no rates at all until at least April 2014.

“This is really good news for small businesses up and down the country,” said Alan Smith, national president of the NFRN. “Small business rates have a major impact on local businesses, especially in difficult times.”

The extension means business properties with a rateable value of £12,000 are eligible for some tax relief, while properties worth up to £6,000 should effectively pay nothing.

However, the NFRN also highlighted that some local authorities implement the relief automatically, while others rely on small businesses to claim it back, theoretically keeping the cash if owners fail to act.

“Some local authorities…see it as a cash generating opportunity,” said Smith. “The government still needs to address this problem.”

The NFRN has previously campaigned on this issue, urging local authorities to remove the ‘postcode lottery’ and make business tax relief automatic across all areas.